December 15, 2016

Landour- Tucked away from Mussoorie!


"I never go through the town of Mussoorie. There are short cuts to avoid the traffic and reach Landour", my driver said as he manoeuvred the vehicle through the steep narrow road from Mussoorie to Landour. I realised how right he was with his aversion to the popular Mussoorie when we took the last curve to the beautiful Landour. 

Though perched only a few kilometers and bends above Mussoorie, this cantonment area nestled amidst the pine, oak and deodhar trees interspersed with bewitching vistas of Himalayas and valleys is all about seclusion and serenity. Soaked in colonial charms with narrow alleys, stone walled structures and churches, Landour is where one can get away from the long itineraries and instead take in a lungful of fresh mountain air and gaze at the unending vistas. It is not without a reason that writers like Ruskin Bond and Steve Alter have made Landour their home. Landour gets its name from Llanddowror, a village in Wales.

The main road in the town is called Gol Chakkar, an apt name as it goes round the hill. Landour is best explored on foot and a walk along the Gol Chakkar is the ideal way to explore this little town. With intermittent structures that pop up without a cue on one side and breathtaking vistas on the other, the walk can never leave you disappointed. The tall pines and percolating sunlight give company all the way through.





Further up on the Gol Chakkar towards Sister's bazaar lies Kellog's Memorial Church, built in 1903. The stone structure with green windowpanes look very British in appearance. Adjoining this pretty church is the Landour Language school where many foreign students learn Hindi. 



A left at the Kellog's church, and Gol Chakkar led to Lal Tibba, a nice long walk through the tall trees. The serpentine road took me past vantage points and an old British cemetery before the snow clad Himalayas spread themselves at Lal Tibba. The brownish red mountains which are a part of lower Himalayas along with the deep valleys and the white peaks of Himalayas (Bandar poonch, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and many more) in the background form a beautiful panoramic frame, one which I could gaze at for long. 





Further down, the road leads to Char Dukaan, believed to be the oldest four shops in Landour. Located overlooking the valleys, Anil's cafe here claims to be the oldest cafe and proudly displays photographs of celebrities who have visited them. The list includes a certain Mr. Tendulkar! Their paranthas, omelettes and maggi are absolutely delicious. I washed down a bun and omelette with a ginger tea as the temperatures further plummeted with the setting sun. Char Dukaan is probably the best place in Landour to witness Mussoorie's ever popular winter line. In the evenings of winter months, as the sun goes down, a splash of golden, orange and mauve hues spread over the horizon giving way to an encapsulating frame. The town of Mussoorie lit up slowly as I framed the gorgeous sky which turned more dramatic. Undoubtedly, the winter line is one of the best frames in Landour along with the view from Lal Tibba.






Adjacent to Char Dukaan stands the 19th century St. Paul's church, which opens only on Sundays. Shrouded by trees, the attractive stoned arches of the church look beautiful.



A deviation from Kellog's church and the road led me to Sister's bazaar, a small market area with a couple of shops. Landour bake house located here is known for its baked items and cookies. It also has a charming ambiance with loads of woodwork. Adjacent to this lies Prakash stores, which is widely popular for its famed peanut butter and homemade jams.



A few kilometers away from Landour lies Jabarkhet nature reserve, the first private reserve in India. Spread over 110 acres, the reserve became functional in the last couple of years after it was taken over by private authorities, prior to which it used to be a place for tourists to party and leave behind tonnes of trash. The reserve has slowly begun to respond to the efforts of authorities and is now home to bears, a leopard, wild boars and numerous birds. The reserve is well spread out and has many vantage points with views of distant villages and mountains. My guide led through many trails such leopard trail, rockfall trail, ridge trail, rhododendron trail (rhododendrons bloom here during spring from March to May) and mushroom trail (a variety of mushrooms pop up during monsoons). There is also a flag point where Tibetans have hung up numerous prayer flags which flutter in the wind. With a thick foliage and narrow tracks, this forest trail was a nice one despite not spotting any wildlife.
  





En-route the road from Char Dukaan to Mussoorie lies Landour bazaar, known for its numerous shops that sell a myriad things. It is an ideal place to go shop hopping and to pick up a souvenir to take back from Landour. 

As my love affair with Landour came to an end, I knew I would miss its serenity and quaint charm which is hard to find in most tourist destinations these days. In hindsight, I see it as a reason to go back to Landour.



Location:

Mussoorie- 6 KMS
Dehradun- 35 KMS
New Delhi- 295 KMS
Closest airport- Jolly Grant at Dehradun, 65 KMS away.
Closest railway head- Dehradun, 38 KMS away.

Food and Accommodation:

Rokeby Manor, a heritage hotel with its colonial charm is an ideal place to stay in Landour. 
There are few nice dining options from Rokeby such as Emily's, The Stray Dog: Stubli and Ale House. Sister's bazaar and Char Dukaan offers options for short eats.

Travel Tips:
  • Landour has a pleasant climate for most part of the year. However, it snows during the winter months and temperatures hover around zero degree or lower.
  • All the above mentioned attractions are a short walk away from each other  except for Jabarkhet reserve. 

16 comments:

  1. Gorgeous blues! Quaintness is so evident in the pics. Lovely post

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  2. nice shots. my hometown is mussourie. so enjoyed even more looking at these pics..

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  3. So vividly described,lived the serenity in the pictures

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  4. You got such clear views whereas all I got was mist! Yet I loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It fairly cleared up only on the last day. :)

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  5. The landscapes are so lovely. And the buildings so charming. I love the colonial touches in our hill-stations.
    Landour is so, so, so inviting. Thank you for the tour, Nomad. :)

    ReplyDelete



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